November 3, 2011

Kids Around the Bay

By Lisa Petrie
Topics:

Folk Fun For the Family

Families across the Bay Area are waking up to a down-home, folksy breakfast on the weekends, courtesy of performance artist Enzo Garcia. Garcia’s “Breakfast with Enzo” series has served up 150 performances each year for nine years in three locations, and it is still piping hot. Garcia entertains with unusual instruments: the banjo, musical saw, jaw harp, guitar, accordion, and an instrument of his own invention — the Enzotar — for which he holds a patent. “It’s based on a one-string instrument from Southern India, the gopichand,” he says. “I like the way these instruments sound and I hear music through them. Kids don’t think they are weird, because they haven’t been conditioned like adults have.”

And it’s obvious by the amount of energy and joy generated at each show that kids (ages 1-7) are into it. Garcia leads them together with their parents in dancing and song, and by the end of the hour they’ve had a music and movement class without really knowing it. Of his recorded CDs, eight are a self-composed curriculum for the LMNO music and movement classes he developed. Garcia also plays at birthday parties and regularly does other projects outside of the “family music” scene, including past appearances with the San Francisco Composers Orchestra as a guest soloist on banjo, accordion, and musical saw. Check his website for details on coming shows on the weekend:

  • Fridays: Sports Basement, Presidio, S.F., 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Saturdays: Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, S.F., 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Sundays: Mill Valley Golf Course Clubhouse, 10 a.m. to noon.

Tristan Arnold Rises From the Ranks

Tristan ArnoldTristan Arnold is no stranger to the rigors of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Training Young Musicians program. Beginning in middle school, Arnold worked his way through all three full orchestras, switching from violin to double bass in the process. Now, he’s all grown up and returns to take the podium as a professional conductor and educator, leading the Preparatory Orchestra in their first concert of the season on Nov. 19 at 2 p.m.

“The night after my High School graduation, I was on a red-eye flight to New York to play with the Santa Rosa Youth Symphony in Carnegie Hall,” he remembers fondly. The program had a huge impact on Arnold. “In the absence of having orchestra in public school, I was able to play in a full orchestra with other talented musicians, and receive regular coachings and lessons with Santa Rosa Symphony players,” he says. “Getting that kind of team perspective from many different musicians is really a strength of the program.”

Since then, Arnold has earned a Bachelor’s degree in music education from Northwestern University and is finishing his Master’s degree in conducting at San Francisco State. He fell in love with teaching and conducting while still in high school, and taught orchestra and chorus at James B. Davidson Middle School in San Rafael. He’s looking forward to the Prep Orchestra’s first performance. “As a new conductor, the first performance is where the orchestra becomes an orchestra. It’s where we get to become a unit in the eyes of the public and the parents, and all of the musicians. It makes us like a family.” Come hear them with the Young People’s Chamber Orchestra on Nov. 19.

The SRS Discovery Orchestra welcomes new conductor Bobby Rogers as well. Come see the joint concert Nov. 20.

More Youth Orchestra Concerts This Month:

Going For Baroque With PBO

Kristin Zoernig in last year’s PBO Family show Credit: by Frank Wing Most kids are familiar with the violin, cello and piano. But have they ever heard their instrumental predecessors, a Baroque violin, viola da gamba, or harpsichord? Some children played the recorder in school, yet knowing that the recorder was the instrument of 17th-century rockstars, with the power to make Ladies swoon and Kings weep is a different thing. The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, San Francisco’s own esteemed orchestra dedicated to performance on period instruments, is presenting two special concerts, providing younger audiences with an opportunity to hear these beautiful instruments and learn some historical background on their performance, and related music and composers. Guests, virtuoso recorder player Marion Verbruggen, and harpsichordist and conductor Ottavio Dantone provide the rockstar appeal.

Lisa Grodin, PBO member and director of education, produces the orchestra’s third annual Family Concert in Berkeley on Nov. 19 at 4 p.m., and a school concert at San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre on Nov. 19 at 1:30 p.m. Grodin is not only an accomplished violinist but is also an experienced educator — she served as the music director at The Crowden School since 2004 and taught at both Crowden and U.C. Berkeley’s Young Musicians Program for many years. Bring your instrument (modern instruments are also welcome) to the Berkeley concert, because audience members are invited to come to the stage and participate in the final number! Download the music at www.philharmonia.org.

Teachers: There is still time to register your class for the free school concert at Herbst Theatre. Contact David Wilson dwilson@philharmonia.org or (415) 252-1288 x304.

Lisa Petrie is a writer and specialist in marketing and public relations for arts and education organizations. She earned a DMA in flute performance from SUNY, Stony Brook, and is the mother of two musical kids. Lisa was the Content Manager for the Kids and Families section of San Francisco Classical Voice during 2011.